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tomorrow we go in shiria law and sha ryia banking. there is spooky stuff going on in the world. i go back to that little book that was found in jordan. walk uprightly. see you tomorrow night. from new york, good night, america. >> chris: two major defections from the libyan regime as the u.s. begins covert operations on the ground. day closer to a government shutdown. there are still big roadblocks to a deal. the interstate fight over the 2012 presidential primaries. live from the studio in washington, this is "special report." good evening, i'm chris wallace in for bret baier. another high-ranking libyan official has defected from muammar gaddafi's regime, making two in as many days. a european diplomat describes it as rats fleeing from a sinking ship. defense secretary gates says there won't be american boots on the ground, despite president obama's
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authorization of covert cia operations. the allied coalition is wiped out estimateed 25% of gaddafi's forces. rebels are still losing ground. forcing lawmakers on capitol hill to ask what is next? white house correspondent mike emanuel is tracking the story. mike? >> reporter: good evening. senior white house officials are pleased, control of the air operation over libya was transferred today from the u.s. to nato. now there is great debate in washington about what else should be done to finish the job. >> as the white house continues to arm the rebels in libya, the cia has small teams on the ground to gather information for military airstrikes and vetting the rebels. at the white house, it means choosing words carefully. >> what i won't talk about is intelligence matters, specific intelligence operations. it's just, cannot be done. >> former cia insider says intelligence officers are assessing the rebels' capabilities. >> trying to assess what kind
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of talent they have and if they're willing to fight, they're certainly trying to judge how much time is left in terms of how much reserve ordnance does the resistance have they're preparing for military intervention if the president chooses to do that. >> reporter: the clandestine aspect make some uncomfortable on capitol hill. >> will we become a nation which plots in secret to wage war? >> reporter: defense secretary robert gates remains clear it's opposed to the military joining the intelligence officers. >> there will be no american boots on the ground in libya. deposing the gaddafi regime, as welcome that eventuality would be is not part of the military mission. >> reporter: gates said if mr. obama decides to send weapons to retreating rebels, the u.s. troops should not train them. lawmakers are going further. >> personally, i think arming the guys is a bad idea. but because we don't know who they are. >> militarily putting u.s. or nato boots on the ground in libya to overthrow gaddafi
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would have far too great a cost. >> if troops aren't going to do it, they say the cia officers could eventually help. >> they probably have a full slate. and they're probably in the doing much training. what you do is train libyans to train other libyans. >> reporter: late today, south carolinaen republican lindsey graham said there could be other ways to get rid of muammar gaddafi. >> would it be unlawful for some nation including ours to drop a bomb on him to end this thing? is that on the table or not. >> i don't think so. because i think it would probably break the coalition. >> reporter: gates made impassioned plea to congress with the military being asked to do so much across the middle east and even japan for congress to pass a budget and give the military the resources. chris? >> mike emanuel reporting from the white house. thanks for that. as you heard, the u.s. officials aren't willing to arm the libyan rebels yet. but it's becoming more evident by the day, the rag tag
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fighters won't be able to defeat gaddafi's forces on their own. correspondent steve harrigan is in the libyan capital of tripoli with the latest. steve? >> reporter: chris, nato issued another warning but this time it's to the rebel fighters, warning them not to attack civilians. and if they do, they could be targeted by nato airstrikes and that warning comes on another day of defeat for the rebels. there were no gains on the battledfield today for rebels who continue to retreat east back toward the stronghold of benghazi, the exact position they were in before, coalition airstrikes began. the chaotic reversal made clear they lack the numbers and the discipline to defeat the government forces without significant help. yet in the first sign of what may be a crumbling inner circle around muammar gaddafi, the foreign minister is now being debriefed in london after fleeing the country and resigning the position.
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>> the resignation shows that gaddafi's regime is frying meanted, under pressure and -- fragmented, under pressure and crumbling from within. >> for 15 years, kouza was gaddafi head of foreign intelligence and the suspected involvement of the lockerbie bombing in 1988 that killed 270 people he's credited helping open libya to the west announcing pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. after initial denials of defection in tripoli, a government spokesman in an unusual news conference confirmed kouza's resignation, attributing it to ill-health. >> exhausted physically and he had diabetes. and high blood pressure. we hope that he will recover. and if he decides to come back, of course. >> the possibility of arming the rebels is controversial. even if it's not done by the americans. the chief of nato express flat opposition to the idea of arming the rebels, while nato
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member turkey went a step further, saying arming the rebels would be contributing to terrorism. >> the defector is a one-time foreign minister, also one-time ambassador to the u.n. the two high-level defections have created a buzz here in the capital. a lot of rumors about who could be next to flee. chris, back to you. >> chris: steve harrigan reporting live from tripoli. thank you for that. with barely more than week of government shutdown in this country, flickers of compromise will starting to occur. correspondent shannon bream reports that there are major stumbling blocks. >> reporter: tea party supporters rallied on capitol hill demanding that republicans stand firm by a promise to cut $100 billion from funding for fiscal year 2011. funding set to run out april 8, absent a new agreement. harry reid says they agreed to a compromise number on spending but yet to work out the details, and says
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republicans are held hostage by extremists. >> i appreciate speaker boehner and the rest of his republican leadership in the house and a tremendous and difficult job they have. i'm sure it's not easy trying to negotiate with tea party screaming in their ear. >> reporter: but boehner says there is no deal. and he and other republican leaders insist they welcome the tea party pressure. >> the president sat the debate out entirely. democrats have the nerve to call anyone who expresses concern an extremist. if you are wondering the tea party, where the tea party came from, look no further. than that. >> the so-called deal touted by reid and vice president biden who met with the senate democrats at the capital wednesday night would reportedly cut $33 billion in spending for the rest of the fiscal year. more than the $32 billion republicans initially proposed in early february. but far short of $61 billion in cuts that house republicans ultimately passed. lawmakers will have to wade through scores of thorny issues to arrive at either number, including whether or
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not to defund planned parenthood. that organization and the pro-life counterparts begun an ad war which mirrors the battle playing out on the hill. >> cutting off funding to groups like planned parenthood has to be one of those issues that we're just not going to back down from. >> no matter the fact that they serve 5 million people and do cancer screenings, and all of the things necessary to help women's health. >> the white house says new is not the proper time for that debate. >> this is not the appropriate vehicle, on which to stack a lot of contentious, ideological or politicized issues. >> with government funding set to expire a week from tomorrow, the senate passed a measure that would block salary payments to members of congress and the president, should the government actually shut down. there is now a similar measure pending in the house. chris? >> chris: shannon bream on capitol hill. shannon, thanks. the cost of oil rose to 30-month high.
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crude prices for may delivery jumped $2.45. to settle at $106.72. prices at the pump added another penny to settle at a national average of $3.61 a gallon. stocks were mixed. the dow lost 31. the s&p 500 dropped 2.5. nasdaq was up 4. the number of people seeking unemployment benefit dropped by 6,000. the second decline in three weeks. the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose slightly this week but remained below 5%. the first debate of the 2012 campaign is now just five weeks out. may 5 in south carolina. you will be able to watch it here on fox news. as the campaign heats up, the rnc is working on a plan to limit the number of debates. when it comes to the primary, there is fierce interstate bickering. >> florida doesn't respect the
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process where the calendar was set, it shouldn't be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected. >> chris: join me now is chris stirewalt, fox news politics digital. good evening. why is everybody so mad at florida? >> nores decided it doesn't really care if it's popular with the rest of the republicans in the country they're going to break up what the rnc had carefully crafted, a plan to delay the primary process. there wouldn't be anybody other than the big three. well, really the big four now of iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, and nevada in the early going. >> chris: they would start in february. >> they would start in february. >> so the republicans were happy it would go slower this year and they'd have time for campaigns to get off the ground. florida says new huh, they're on the books with a january 31 primary. what is happening is the people in these states like iowa and south carolina are very upset. what they want to do is punish florida by taking away the republican national convention. a very lucrative and great
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point of pride for the state republicans. they want to take it away from tampa as punishment. >> chris: hasn't the rnc spent money? the convention is in august in tampa in 2012. haven't they already spent money? they would lose a lot. >> not only would they lose a lot but remember this, florida has as many electoral votes as the state of new york. 29. it will probably be the decisive state. i don't think republicans would be keen on the idea of having a huge lot of stories in tampa about lost revenue and broken promises. they don't want to do that. >> briefly, another big issue is the debates, as we said the fox will kick it off on may 5. the rnc is trying to get control of the debate. >> the goal is to limit the number of debates and to limit access so that the front-runners don't get dragged down and as they had to do last time, 25, 30 debates debates in the course of the year. the problem for republicans is can you agree on a plan to execute that?
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right now there is a big wrestling match at the rnc about getting that done. >> chris: wrestling matches are fun to watch. >> indeed. >> chris: chris, thank you. >> you bet. >> chris: the tea party gets into professional sports. that's ahead on the grapevine. but first, the u.s. wants to be on the same team as bahrain, china, cuba and russia. we'll explain. straight ahead.
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bundling to save you more. now, that's progressive! call or click today. >> chris: chairman of the house oversight and government reform committee, congressman darrell issa, has released a report criticizing obama administration political appointees for meddling. correspondent doug mckelway reports on that and today's hearing on what issa sees as an even bigger problem. >> reporter: today's hearing on the lack of transparency at the homeland security came less than 24 hours after committee republicans released a scathing report accusing secretary napolitano's aides of noncooperation, witness tampering and even attempted theft of committee documents. chairman darrell issa set the
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tone early with barbed questions about the department alleged stonewalling of "associated press" foia request for government document. >> is a.p. on the menmy's list? i'll take it as a no unless you want to answer. >> they defended department and witnesses against the republican onslaught. >> i want to give you a chance to answer the question. tried to but you weren't permitted to. you stated that delays do not meet your high standards. >> they were not, sir. that was confirmed by the inspector general report. >> dhs witnesses described an agency besieged with a backlog of 74,000 foia requests, many dating back to the bush administration. >> we began to work immediately to address the issue and have had success. under this administration, we have reduced the backlog by 84%. more than 63,000 foia requests. >> expert from the electronic privacy information center described d.h.s. as uniquely unresponsive to the many foia
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requests. >> since 2009, the department of homeland security failed to comply with the foia deadlines in 100% of requests filed by epic. >> under further questioning, john verdi criticized vhs demand that the foia request identify themselves by name, location and party affiliation. >> i do not believe it to be lawful. >> despite the harsh criticism, chairman issa pointed out what he had seen as d.h.s.'s flaw in overly politicized policies in tooia request have been rescinded and they are operating in the statutory boundaries and promise more government transparency hearings to come. >> chris: we'll stay on top of it. thank you. the department of health and human services issued new rules today for accountable care organizations. key part of the new healthcare law that is raising antitrust concerns. hospitals will be able to form networks and pool services in an effort to save the government almost $1 billion in the next three years.
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regulators will make sure they're in line with antitrust law. the u.s. announced its intention to seek a second term on the united nations human rights council. despite that group's actions against an american ally israel. correspondent james rosen looks at the trouble the council has living up to its own name. >> a parliament of the world. >> from the founding in 1945, the united nations has embodied the best of man's aspirations and to be sure the u.n. has over the years intervened countless times to save lives and promote opportunity across the globe. the world body has also often found short of the founding ideals and there may be no better example than the u.n. human rights council in geneva. current members include countries where respect for human rights is not shall we say a hallmark, such as china, cuba, russia and bahrain. the site of recent brutal crackdown of recent protesters. libya was a member until the
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suspension 30 days ago. under president bush, u.s. boycotted the council, but the obama administration practicing the signature approach of engagement, sought and won election for the u.s. to a three-year term on the council. now announced its intention to seek re-election. despite what the state department laments as the could believe's biased, dis -- laments as the council biased. >> it's resulted in real progress for the council. certainly women's rights and issues related to sexual orientation, freedom of expression and assembly. all the issues raised in support of the council. this is due to the u.s. leadership. >> as america's ambassador to the u.n., john bolton had extensive dealings with the council and argues american membership views it with legitimacy it does not deserve. >> the entire u.n. human rights mechanism for many years has been governed essentially by human rights violators there have been probably a dozen resolutions critical of israel, for every resolution about a real human rights
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violator bike burma or north korea. >> they wrapped up the session with a strongly worded condemnation of the gaddafi regime. however, the counsel website reflects no response at all with events in egypt, bahrain, yemen or the latest country to announce it too wants a seat on the council, syria. in washington, james rosen, fox news. >> chris: we have an update on what may be the world's costliest disaster ever later in the program. first, one pennsylvania town is set to rise from the ashes of its own disaster. [ female announcer ] treat yourself to something special for lunch at red lobster.
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>> chris: almost ten years after united flight 93 crashed here shanksville, pennsylvania, the first battlefield of the war on terror, that scarred land scape is set to be the site of
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a national memorial honoring the fallen. correspondent laura ingle has a progress report. >> reporter: family members of the 40 passengers and crew members lost on united flight 93 are taking action to insure their loved one's heroism is not forgotten they're urging members of congress to approve an additional $3.7 million in funding for the memorial asout lined in president obama's 2012 budget. >> we know that these are very tough economic times. i think that these, this is the type of a project that is so symbolic and so representative of finding clo sure, it's imperative. >> the memorial is being built in three phases. the first is expected to cost $60 million. $20 million has been raised privately. the state of peninsula is giving $18.5 million. congress has already provided $10 million. >> democratic and republican majorities in the congress have supported building this
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memorial. >> at the heart of the memorial, the field of honor. >> that's where the plane went in the ground. the plane as you remember came over the top of us at 540 miles per hour. it was inverted. upside down. >> reporter: the development built around the impact site will feature viewing plaza to offer visitors an area to pay respects before a wall of names of those lost. this space will eventually house 40, eight-foot tall slabs of marble. one for each passenger and crew member on board. the wall symbolically follows the flight path moment before impact. construction is on target for this portion to be unveiled in september, ten years after the terrorist attacks. a temporary memorial which remains open during construction brings in over 100,000 visitors each year. >> it's strange having the emotions come back. ten years. >> reporter: national park officials anticipate atense dance numbers -- attendance
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numbers to double or triple once it opens. >> my daughter loves children and i really look forward to the countless number of children that come through the memorial. >> family members say approval of the additional federal funding will help pave the road to completion. and will help the nation continue to heal. near shanksville, pennsylvania, laura ingle, fox news. >> chris: former c.d. mayor marion barry is in hot water again. we'll tell you about a lawmaker who hates what dui laws are doing to his state. the grapevine is next. funny thing about vegetables... they fill you up without filling you out. yes! v8 juice gives you three of your five daily servings of vegetables. that's what i'm talking about! v8. what's your number?
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discover the fastest, most powerful gator yet, at johndeere.com/gator. >> chris: now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine. we have a driving theme tonight. washington, d.c. counsel men and former mayor marion barry is having car trouble. the "washington post" found barry has been driving with inactive plates for more than six months. the car isn't registered with the dmv. he apparently has tags from his old car on his new jaguar. parry spokesman says the dealership where he bought the car misplaced the title. d.c. police say an officer told barry in december he couldn't drive his car until it was registered. the tea party is backing nascar team, driver chris lafferty said he wanted to do something patriotic so he joined up with the
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teaparty.net. until the 2012 election, the vehicle is called "we the people's truck. but the tie-in different from others in nascar. the tea party is not paying him. any money donated by fans will be split between the tea party and the race team. it's becoming a popular refrain, but the target is not what you would expect. state representative in montana is going after laws which he says are the job killers that hurt small businesses. but, he's going after dui laws. and the small businesses are local bars. >> these dui laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good. at all. they're destroying them. they're destroying the way of life that has been in montana for years and years. these taverns and bars in the smaller communities connect people together. they're the center of the communities. >> chris: by the way, representative hale and his wife own a bar in montana.
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♪ ♪ >> chris: now our top story at the bottom of the hour. muammar gaddafi has issued a defiant statement after two high-profile defections from his regime. calling on leaders of the allied coalition to step down. this is as forces loyal to gaddafi are starting to overpower the rebels, despite the no-fly zone. there are plenty of questions about how far the u.s. is willing to go to help the rebels. national security correspondent jennifer griffin has more from the pentagon. >> belgium f-16 fighter jets began taking over from u.s. warplanes today, dropping bombs in libya. >> nato took over commander of the operation unify prod feckor at -- profeck somewhere -- protector. >> reporter: bad weather slowed precision airstrikes and was to blame, pentagon official said, for a string of rebel losses in the past 24
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hours. meantime, pentagon officials took fire on capitol hill. >> to say this is not about the regime change is crazy. of course this is about regime change. >> reporter: defense secretary gates resisted talk of broadening the mission. >> we tried regime change before. and sometimes it's worked and sometimes it's taken ten years. >> reporter: on february 25, ten days after the libyan uprising began, gates gave a grave warning about ever starting another land war in the middle east. >> any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big american land army to asia or in to the middle east or africa should have his head examined. >> reporter: he looked visibly annoyed on the hill today facing questions about a mission that's well-known he advised the white house against. >> i think we have considered the possibility of thising a stalemate. and being drawn-out affair. >> reporter: but insisted the u.s. would not send ground troops. >> do you know if there is any
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time in the future that there are going to be boots on the ground in libya? >> not as long as i'm in this job. >> reporter: later he added. >> the last thing this country needs is another enterprise in nation-building. >> reporter: he suggested the rebel opposition the lesser of two evils but would not endorse using u.s. military force to assassinate gaddafi. >> we may not know much about the opposition or the rebels but we know a great deal about gaddafi. the jersey barriers that first appeared in washington, appeared not after 9/11 but in 1983, after we received a number of clandestine reports indicating that gaddafi wanted to kill president reagan. >> reporter: after the defection from gaddafi inner circle today, gaddafi issued a written statement scrolled across the bottom of state television but he did not show his face. chris? >> chris: jennifer griffin reporting from the pentagon. thanks for that. italy is dealing with an influx of immigrants because of the north african
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uprisings. a sicilian town ran out of shelters as the refugees shipped to detention camps. human rights groups are concerned about the situation. syria's president bashar assad set up a committee today to look into replacing decades old emergency laws that left the regime arrest people without charge. reports suggest the move is meant to show demonstrators won't pressure shadegg the make reforms -- pressure assad to make reforms faster than he wants. japan nuclear crisis is now three weeks old and the radiation levels around the damaged plant continue to rise. experts suggest there is almost no hope of a quick resolution. despite that, a group of brave men continues to risk everything. reporter dominic di-natali is live in japan with the latest. >> reporter: we were hearing from the french president
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nicolas sarkozy, the first foreign leader to come to japan following the earthquake and tsunami of march 11. he was talking about the nuclear crisis, saying that he couldn't believe there wasn't more on the set of international standards when it came to handling nuclear material and nuclear reabout torse and something he will propose at the g-20 summit come may. traveling with him was a group of experts from the french nuclear industry, the world leading experts arguably. the ceo of the state-opened nuclear reactor manufacturer was saying not only to his help, but will learn a lot for the rest of the community that have nuclear plants to learn from. >> translator: the priority is stabilize the situation. from there we get information on nuclear plants and those to be designed.
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>> yesterday they sprayed resin over the plants but the bad weather prevented them from doing that. they'll try to start in a few hours to limit the contamination, but so far the level is so high many experts say it's too dangerous on the site and it will be difficult to contain the problem. chris? >> chris: dominic, reporting live from osaka. thanks. with high-profile defection from libya, are u.s. covert operations still on the table? the panel tackles that after the break. professional driver on a closed course. ♪ do not attempt at home. always wear your seat belt. ♪ and please drive responsibly. [ male announcer ] it's the most fun you can legally have. see your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional offers on the c-class.
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the c.i.a. access in libya equate to count as troops on the ground -- boots on the ground? >> chuck, i think you know and you knew before you asked that question i will not and cannot discuss intelligence matters. >> chris: white house spokesman jay carney ducking a question today about how far president obama is willing to go to help the libyan rebelsm
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time now to bring in the panel. steve hayes of the weekly standard. a.b. stoddard from the hill. and syndicated columnist charles krauthammer. so it's flashed all over the news media today that c.i.a. operatives have been on the ground for several weeks to help with airstrikes and to learn more about the rebels. steve, good idea? >> well, yeah. i think it would be news if the cia wasn't on the ground in libya given what is going on there. part of the problem that we face in libya, with respect to our intelligence is that we have, we had an atrophied intelligence operation in libya before this, throughout the last part of the last decade. we document have strong human intelligence assets on the ground in libya, so what we're doing now is making up for lost time. i think they are trying to flood the zone as it were. send a lot of people in. learn as much as we can. find out who is on our side and who is not and try to win the war that way. >> chris: we find in out the paper today about the covert operation. not just the c.i.a. but the special ops forces for brits
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and maybe the french as well. can they make a difference? >> i think there are two missions for the c.i.a. on the ground right now. one is the, they are assessing the rebels with the preparation to possibly arm them further. the second one is to better our intelligence on the ground. it's the second one where there is consensus. if we can better target loyalists and possibly target gaddafi himself, that is a good goal. if it's just about assessing out the rebels and finding a way to help them, that is a different story you know there is bipartisan concern. and opposition. on capitol hill about this. that really opens the flood gates. at what point, if we begin to arm rebels are we really, are we signing up for open-ended extended conflict that we can't win? even if gaddafi is taken out and we have armed the rebels in the time battles with him or his forces, then what? they're pitiful, at the
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breaking point, unable to build up the nation. we're still in a nation-building mode if we started arming them in the fight. >> chris: charles, it is also been widely leaked in the last 12, 18 hours that apparently president obama signed a secret finding, a couple of week ago that authorizes c.i.a. to arm the rebels if he decides to do it. it's just authorizing them to do it. not actually doing it yet. i got to say, you've been in this town a long time. i've never seen a covert operation that was less covert. it wonder if this is the white house's way of telling the world and its citks we do have a plan? we do have a way to go after gaddafi? >> you agree. when you learn that it was leaked by four inside sources, then you know it was not exactly something they wanted to report. >> chris: didn't believe the first three. >> it was not exactly something they wanted to keep secret. it was a way of saying we know what we are doing here.
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it remains a question, whether they actually do. you know, that question that jay carney the press secretary dodged, if we're not having any american boots on the ground how you account for the c.i.a. guys? the answer is and according to my intelligence sources, that the c.i.a. guys in libya are wearing bathroom slippers. because it's very important that this administration stay within the announced rules of engagement. which leads to the real absurdity of today, which is that nato announced, this is a true story now if the rebels are attacking civilians, we will attack the rebels. i mean this is keystone kops. is this why we send our men and women in to bat to act as celestial referee of a civil war to make sure everybody obeys the marking of rule? this is an operation the president has to explain. it's all about what the ultimate objective is. they have not given any answer that is credible.
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>> chris: less than two minutes left. steve, one other thing to bring up. the other big development, i want to ask how big it is, two top libyan officials, the foreign minister and the former foreign minister both defected. how significance that? >> it could be significant because it shows there is a nervousness around muammar gaddafi if there is not -- if gaddafi is not nervous himself. the troubling thing for united states is we're not doing the things by sending the mixed signals that charles mention and signs that we may be timid or not committed to actually winning and removing gaddafi. we are sending signals to him that he doesn't have to be that worried. think about if we sent signals say weg i'll do whatever it takes to win the war. we've seen muammar gaddafi collapse before. he did it after the iraq -- >> chris: but then doesn't the international coalition splinter and that means they didn't get support for that, any more than back in '91 they
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didn't get support to oust saddam hussein? >> at a point you have to take a risk that the coalition will splinter. if keeping the coalition is more important than winning the war, you have priorities back. >> if you take that, what you talk about that may have been overstated in terms of arming rebels if we lead the fight to topple gaddafi, then we really do, pottery barn rule all over again. >> if we help them depose gaddafi and run him out and including his son and nothing less than that, we own helping them be nothing. they're fighting in their cars, firing in the wrong direction with toy guns. >> chris: all right. >> we already own the war. obama decided we were going to. >> the war. he's the one who organizes the coalition. he crowed about it. it's now his war. he thinks he can pretend it's a nato war or u.n. war, arab league war. of course not. coalition is a means. not an end. person has to decide what the end is and pursue it
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seriously. otherwise he should not enter his country into war. >> chris: take a break there. after the break, the panel discusses the battle over the presidential primary calendar in the meantime, tell us what topic you want us to discuss in the friday lightning round by voting in the poll in the home page at foxnews.com/specialreport.
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if florida doesn't respect the process by which the primary calendar was set, the rnc should not be bound to the process by which the convention site was selected. >> chris: talk about the political hardball. that is south carolina g.o.p. chair on a conference call today saying if florida insists on breaking the party rules and holding the primary
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in january, republicans should take the national convention away from florida. we're back now with the panel. so, a.b., the rnc set some rules early on and said only the first four. iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, nevada, could go in february. even else has to go later. the idea is to start later in the season, and not have the big jumble and now florida is talking about we're going to go in january, which means that everybody else would go earlier in january. how big a deal is this? >> a very big deal. florida is obviously a heavyweight state in the process and feels it can position itself with the support of senator marco rubio and others to say we're going to jump the calendar. no matter what you say it doesn't matter. but really, this is such an independent -- indication, what a disaster it would be to take the convention away from florida to punish them for breaking rules. this should have been worked out in advance and find a way to make states compel them to comply with the rules and should have been done earlier.
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illustration of weak the rnc has become in a party that's leaderless. it needs highly function rnc. this is becoming a huge liability. >> chris: ab said it would beer thible if they took the con vention from tampa. they've signed millions of dollars in contracts. this is a pretty empty threat, isn't it? >> completely empty threat. if you want to be a party that says you should be in control of the white house and the control and $4 trillion budget and you can't even get your ducks in a row to put op a show next year, you take it away from tampa and you disappoint one of the most important states in the country, you haven't exactly made a good case for yourself. is there is no way that is going to happen. it will probably happen is what happened last time around, they will try to cut the number of delegates in half. and then after it's all over, everybody will be forgiven. it will be allowed the full number will be allowed there is no way to stop this.
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unless florida comes to its senses. >> chris: there is talk, i must say, the republican speaker in florida saying well, maybe we settle for going fifth. maybe this would rush not ahead of the first four but ensure they go fifth. the other interest subjectvoing republican, steve, debates. the first debate will be five weeks from tonight. in south carolina. greenville, south carolina. the republican g.o.p. debate on fox news. but now the rnc is saying gosh, there is so many different organizations, news organizations, other organizations, maybe we've got try to get control of this. and limit the number of debuilts. >> yeah, i think the rnc wants to limit the number of debate. the front-runner, repeated front-runner would like to limit debate. like romney who doesn't have to take shot from 20 candidates on the stage 20 times before the nomination actually unfolds. i think that the debait
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question in terms of the rnc is less significant than the sell gait question, florida question. "i" gree with charles. it's unlikely that the rnc can do much aside from make phone calls and persuade the floridians to change it. i think that is going to be bigger ticking so i want for republicans. >> chris: a.b., take us inside campaign. steve touched on this. but which candidates want more debate starting earlier, which candidates want fewer debates starting later? >> the candidates that are the outer tier want more note trity and want to get in there and punch. michele bachmann, rick santorum, interested in the debate. maybe dom touch and cain and the others working to establish serious candidacys. like mike huckabee, haley barbour, i don't know about mitch daniels but they want to wait to see how the field settles and they'll have debates maybe later after some
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of the low-hanging fruit is gone. i see the argument for abbreviated debate season. again, another thing the rnc really can't control and if they want to, they should have thought about it earlier in the season. >> chris: charles? >> it shows how weak our parties are compared to a candidate or u.k. where this would never happen. the parties are top-down. ours are anarchicn't and the party is weaker than ever. the best way to alienate electorate is have 20 debates the year before the election, which is a way to expose all of the foibles and the weaknesses, particularly of the ones that will end up as the most likely nominees. the fringe candidates who are going to be provocative and aggressive as a way to get notice and attention. the best example of that is huckabee, who in the last round was thought to be extremely unlikely and ended up in the top tier.
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that is the objective of every one of the minor candidates match. is going to happen major ones with the best shots take a hit for 20 debates over year. not going to help the party. >> chris: that is it for panel. did i mention that if first debate is right here on fox on may 5? stay tuned to see the shocking video of what twin babies are really saying when they don't know someone is watching. host: could switching to geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance?
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let's do this. look who early! [ dentist ] my patients want to walk into their dental check-up prepared to ace it. that's why i tell them to use new crest pro-health invigorating clean rinse. its invigorating action lets you know it's working to fight plaque and gingivitis and it provides all these other benefits. crt pro-health invigorating clean rinse. clean, protect, and invigorate your way to better dental check-ups. life opens up when you do. >> chris: finally tonight, you may have seen that video clip recently where twin babies seem to be talking to each other in a language all their own. well, our friends on late night found someone who cracked their code. >>. [babbling]

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Special Report With Bret Baier
FOX News March 31, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

News/Business. Bret Baier. The latest news from inside the Beltway. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Gaddafi 18, Libya 15, Florida 14, Nato 9, South Carolina 7, Washington 6, U.n. 5, Iowa 3, Montana 3, Rnc 3, Tripoli 3, Bahrain 3, Steve 3, Cuba 2, Shanksville 2, Pennsylvania 2, China 2, Russia 2, New Hampshire 2, Israel 2
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